Hazards around the home

Many household chemicals we use every day can cause harm to us and/or the environment.

Even products marketed as natural, organic or environmentally friendly can be hazardous. You can find out more about poisons around the home on the Ministry of Health website https://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/healthy-living/environmental-health/household-items-and-electronics/poisons-around-home

Asbestos information for the home handyman

It is not necessary to use contractors if less than 10 m2 of asbestos is to be removed, unless the material is brittle, crumbly or has contaminated dust.
If you are unsure whether your proposed work will need to be licensed, contact Worksafe on 0800 030 040. Visit the Worksafe website for regulations around working with asbestos.

Public Health South (PHS) will test domestic asbestos samples for free. Samples will be sent to a Capital Environment Services Ltd laboratory in Wellington. Contact Public Health South (PHS) on 03 211 8500 or visit their webpage for more information. https://www.southerndhb.govt.nz/pages/public-health-services/

Asbestos requires a special waste permit to be disposed of at a regional landfill. For more information visit the Wastenet website here: www.wastenet.org.nz

Click on the following link to access WorkSafe's asbestos information page dedicated to homeowners: https://worksafe.govt.nz/topic-and-industry/asbestos/information-for-homeowners

Methamphetamine toxicity

Methamphetamine (P) contaminated houses in the Southland District

Council’s response to the report from the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor. The following will be applied in line with the recommendations of the report:

  • For any notification relating to the use of methamphetamine (not manufacture) showing contamination levels below 15ug/100cm2 – no action will be taken and no tags will be placed on the property file.
  • For properties notified to Council (historical) with supporting evidence which shows the contamination level was not from a police notification and the level of contamination was below 15ug/100cm2 – the tag will be removed from the property file.
  • No change to our process after receiving a police notification (or have historically received) relating to a clandestine drug laboratory (P-Lab) at a property. The New Zealand Standard (NZS) will be followed.
  • No change to our process for any notifications we have received where the supporting evidence shows levels of contamination above 15ug/100cm2. The NZS will be followed.

Conclusions of the report

There is currently no evidence that methamphetamine levels typically resulting from third-hand exposure to smoking residues on household surfaces can elicit an adverse health effect. Toxicity assessments and exposure dose models have deliberately adopted very conservative assumptions, with large safety margins built in.

Taken together, these factors indicate that methamphetamine levels that exceed the NZS 8510:2017 clean-up standard of 1.5 µg/100 cm2 should not be regarded as signalling a health risk. Indeed, exposure to methamphetamine levels below 15 μg/100 cm2 would be highly unlikely to give rise to any adverse effects.

This means that, because the risk of encountering methamphetamine on residential surfaces at levels that might cause harm is extremely low, testing is not warranted in most cases. Remediation according to the NZS 8510:2017 standard is appropriate only for identified former meth labs and properties where excessive methamphetamine use, as indicated by high levels of methamphetamine contamination, has been determined.

Access the full report in the resources below.